Buriram moved to within one game of retaining their title with an emphatic 3-0 win at bitter rivals Muang Thong. This was the game that could have given Bangkok United the chance to close the gap at the top but frankly, it was a game Buriram controlled from start to finish.
Obviously, Muang Thong were desperate to get one over on Buriram but as in many games in the past, they went about it the wrong way. Once again, their players and coaching staff showed their complete disregard for authority and their reward was absolutely right…..NOTHING !
The referee did not help matters despite using the VAR at every opportunity. His decision to only give Heberty a yellow card instead of a red was astonishing, though in the end it was far more satisfying to beat Muang Thong with all their players on the pitch.
Buriram played controlled football from the start and they hardly wasted a pass as the home side were unable to pose a genuine threat on Siwarak’s goal.
Supachok and Junsoo dropped to the bench, with Chitipat and Jakkaphan coming in.
There was a flurry of yellow cards at the start of the game. Firstly, Pansa took out Coelho with a clumsy tackle and Tunez was shown a yellow for making unwanted comments to the referee. Chitipat quickly followed but at the time of writing the reason is unknown.
It appeared that Coelho came close to scoring against his former employers in the 8th minute when he hit the post following a right-wing cross. Sasalak received a cut head after Coelho’s challenge and after consulting the VAR the big striker was shown a yellow card for using his elbow. To be fair, that was the correct decision as there appeared to be no deliberate attempt to hit Sasalak.
The referee was at the VAR again in the 17th minute following a clash between Heberty and Tunez. Again the yellow card came out for Heberty but this time the referee got it wrong. Heberty clearly kicked Tunez in the midriff and should have been shown red.
Buriram were enjoying plenty of possession without creating much. However, this meant that Muang Thong were seeing very little of the ball and Siwarak was merely an interested spectator.
The deadlock was broken in the 39th minute when Osvaldo crossed low from the right and the ball hit a defender to find Korrakot whose unconvincing effort on goal took a wicked deflection to nestle in the far corner. Fortuitous, yes but no more than Buriram deserved.
Diogo as usual was at the hub of most of Buriram’s attacks and he broke clear down the left in the 42nd minute before crossing for Supachai to get in a header which was well-saved by the keeper.
So a narrow lead at the interval, though Buriram were in total control of the game and would be looking to finish the job in the second-half.
Muang Thong had a rare sight of goal in the 46th minute when a low left-wing cross found Heberty but his shot brought a good save from Siwarak. Three minutes later Buriram almost increased their lead when Diogo headed on for Osvaldo to lob inches over the bar with the keeper beaten.
Buriram continued to frustrate the home side with their possession football before scoring the killer second goal in the 70th minute. Jakkaphan picked the ball up in midfield before threading a perfectly weighted pass for Osvaldo to run onto and place a low shot past a helpless keeper.
Jakkaphan has his critics, including me, but it really was a fantastic pass.
Buriram brought on Junsoo for Supachai in the 74th minute, a sound tactical move .
There were few goalmouth incidents after that, with Buriram content to play out time. However, Muang Thong were handed a lifeline by the referee in the 89th minute when Junsoo was harshly adjudged to have fouled Coelho . The referee consulted the VAR and upheld his decision. All Junsoo did was stand his ground but Coelho threw himself to the floor and it was not a great decision.
However, justice was done as Siwarak dived to his right to block Heberty’s shot.
Junsoo had his revenge deep into stoppage time when he headed in Korrakot’s perfect left-wing cross to wrap up proceedings.
This was an excellent away performance against a team who were on a winning run. Quite simply, Buriram were superior in every department.
No time to bask in the glory as Buriram face Bangkok Glass in the League Cup semi-final on Wednesday September 19 at Police Tero’s ground, 7pm.